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Posts posted by ChefCrash

  1. On 1/2/2017 at 7:26 AM, gfron1 said:

    @ChefCrash What a great idea she has! Just joking - I've been doing your method for years. A couple of thoughts. I've always used whole wheat fillo when I can find it and prefer it ten fold. Also, she said the syrup must be cold. I've never worried about that - what's the rationale?

    According to aunt Rita (the same one Maureen mentions in the video), the syrup should be room temp cold not chilled. The rationale is,the cold syrup is better absorbed by the hot baklava.

    Since we've always made the syrup before we started on the Baklava it was always at room temperature by the time the baklava was done.

    By the way, thirty five or forty years ago if you wanted a tray of Baklava for the holidays, the only way was to placed an order with aunt Rita, may she rest in peace:)


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  2. On 10/1/2006 at 5:02 AM, Nicolai said:

    Nice pictures mouth watering as usual.

    However, traditional Shawarma is not marinated in yogurt whatsoever.

    You can marinated it if you want to, however this is not the norm.

    The main ingredients which give Shawarma the typical flavour are a vinegar marinate and cardamon pods. (in addition to other spices).

    What you see "oozing out between the layers of meat" is not yogurt but single layers of fat between each 8 or 10 layers of meat. I am talking "Ly'eh".

    Alternatively, some place the "Ly'eh" on top of the skewer.

    The closest you can make at home, is to cut lamb into slivers and place in metal round tray, marinate with red wine vinegar, few whole cardamon pods, slivered onions, cubed tomatoes, S&P, a sprinkling of EVOO and marinate for few hours untill meat almost cooked. Place in hot oven (250/280) and monitor untill meat is crisp outside/soft inside. Lay in bread with Tahineh and veggies/pickles and enjoy.

    I am now going to treat myself for a Shawarma in your name today.




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  3. Hello ladies and Alex, miss you guys:)

    First let me clarify, "Salatat Fool" is Fava bean salad and not peanuts.

    Other salad options are,(these are Lebanese, and not necessarily middle eastern)


    Cabbage, vinegar, olive oil, dried mint, s&p salad

    Purslane salad (fattoush made with puslane insted of lettuce)

    Leaf lettuce, garlic lemong-gret and dried mint.

    Tomato, cucumber, onion, garlic, dried mint, lemon-gret  salad with a bit of Berberi spices (little Etheopian twist) or ceyenne pepper.

    Summer Savory, red onion, sumac, s&p and just a touch of oil.

    Cucumber, yogurt, garlic, dried mint, salad.

  4. I don't think it matters much weather they're cracked. Make sure they're thawed, and grill them till heated thoroughly. If they dry too much they'll be too salty.

    As far as dipping sauce try Beurre Monte.

  5. Hi BB

    I think that you and I agree that our experiments show that using 3% salt by weight give about the right saltiness to the fish. Yours cured for 52 hours, mine for about 24. Also, we both didn't like the texture of the final product after being in the brine for those periods.

    As far as the amount of liquid leaching from the fish, I think that's proportional to the amount of salt used.

    A vacuum-packed bag may be devoid of air, but does not really hold a vacuum. Once your machine starts sealing the bag, the pressure inside the bag is the same as the outside of the bag, one bar (1 atmosphere). Even partial vacuum can only exist in rigid objects from which air can be pumped out without them collapsing, like strong glass jars.

    To understand how liquid can be displaced from the fish into the vacuum-packed bag, imagine this:

    Fill a small ziplock bag half way with marbles and fill to top with water. Carefully close the bag making sure you squeeze all the air out as you zip it closed. Now place that bag in a bigger vacuum bag and vacuum seal it using your machine.

    Now you have a bagful of marbles and water (the fish) inside a vacuum sealed bag. (I'm blowing my own mind here;).

    Now imagine remotely introducing holes to (or simply remotely unzipping) the ziplock bag within the vac-sealed bag. What's to keep liquid from leaking from the ziplock bag into the other?

    Unfortunately, for this method to work, the resulting brine must stay in contact with the fish to achieve equilibrium.

    I hope this helps.

  6. This thread has become a great resource. Great work everyone.

    Hi BB

    I don't think vacuum packing prevents liquid from leaching out. Liquid is displaced from inside the flesh to the outside.

    I tried the same with two trout fillets. In my case there was quite a bit of liquid. in the bag after 24hrs.


    I too was pleasantly surprised at the saltiness of the smoked fish, but was turned off by the texture which was kind of gummy. Of course the fillets I used were the kind that had sat on ice and misted with water for who knows how long (at the store), so I attributed the texture to perhaps a water soaked fish to start with.

    Must try again.

  7. Not a TV show, but in a blog post on chicken curry, Michael Ruhlman says that his kids "are getting their veg from the chicken stock." When a reader points out that the chicken stock in a serving of curry contains virtually none of the nutrients of the vegetables used to make it, he steps in it even deeper with his reply: "really? then why does stock made with onion carrot and celery taste so much better?"

    Wait a minute! If we're to believe the host of the other show who taught us that vegetables boiled too long will lose their nutrients in the water, then Ruhlman is correct;)

  8. It was too cool to fire up the smoker.

    These spareribs were slathered with liquid smoke, covered with rub and roasted @250* convection for 4 hours. The pans were relined with fresh foil, sauce was applied and returned to the oven for 5 minutes, applied sauce again and took them out 5 minutes later.





  9. Hi BB

    Understand your frustration:) How long did you cure your salmon?

    According to Jmolnari for one kilo of fish you'll need 30g of salt and 15g sugar. Jmolnari mentioned curing for about two days. Depending on thickness, your fish may equilibrate sooner but will not get saltier if left another day or two.

    Vacuum wrapping is probably done to keep brine in contact with all surfaces. Same thing could be achieved with a well purged ziplock bag.

  10. Hi nolafoodie

    I'm sorry I had not read the whole thread, I just thought this thread needed some photos. I didn't realize there were more than one version of this. I had never heard of this dish before I visited this restaurant in Alai Lebanon and literally ordered 2 of everything (15 people), mazza style, for our going away party.

    The dish is definitely Syrian in origin. We made it the way it was served to us.

    The meats were simmered in water with the aromatics in the photo. After the scum was removed, dry chic peas and salt were added and simmered until the meats fell off the bones. Mean while crushed garlic was added to yogurt along with salt and a little water and set aside to reach room temperature.

    At the table, yogurt was ladled into bowls followed with the piping hot soup, chic peas and the fried bread.

    Most Lebanese eat everything with bread. When my father left the village in south Lebanon to study in Saida, he was introduced to "city bread" (pita). He didn't know what to do with it so he rolled it up in the village bread (he'd brought with him) like a sandwich (aarous) and ate it :laugh:

  11. Thanks for the clarification. I think I will try that this weekend.

    Sorry guys. I should have been clearer. My % are relative to the weight of the fish. No brine. Just salt and sugar. Applied evenly to the salmon. Vac packed and then left for a couple days.

    I've done a LOT of research as it pertains to brines and the science behind it is very vague. Absorption rates, pickup %, fat levels in product it's all a big guessing game between brine concentration and how long to leave the meat/fish. I don't like it. The beauty of dry curing the item using an equilibrium method is that you can't over salt it. You add as much salt by weight as you want the item to have. That's it. Then leave it long enough for the salt to equilibrate in the item.

  12. So that was a 3% salt and 1.5% sugar water solution? Does fish weight to brine weight matter? Seems that it would.


    I made lox following Modernist Cuisine's parametric recipe.

    I used a copper river salmon fillet (from last season, vac packed and frozen waiting for cooler weather). 3% salt, 1.5% sugar, vacuum packed it for a couple days to equilibrate.

    Took it out of the bag, quick rinse, pat dry with paper towel and cold smoked with mixed hardwood for 4 hours. It's fantastic.

    Next time i'll add some spices to it, but i wanted to keep the flavors clean with the copper river fillet.

  13. My fish curing/smoking experience has been limited to dry curing and hot smoking. Always came out ok, but never could nail down the saltiness.

    This is the last smoked trout I made two weeks ago. I was in a rush and slit the fish down to the bone to speed things up. Then I decided to debone and butterfly it.

    The fish was covered thoroughly in a mixture of:

    1/2 c Diamond Crystal kosher salt

    1/4 c dark brown sugar

    1 tsp black pepper.

    It sat in the cure exactly one hour then rinsed, dried with paper towels and went on my smoker, so no drying.

    It was smoked for about 1.5 hours. It came out great.

    I have tried several cure ratios and curing times, sometimes twice with seemingly same weight and thickness of fish, and yet came out with different results.

    Perhaps if I knew what a final (acceptable) salt content in the fish before smoking, I could calculate a brine saturation based on weight and let brine to equilibrium.



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